Friday was the last day of classes for students at the Vogelweid Learning Center at St. Peter’s Catholic School in Jefferson City.
For 9-year-old Brody Bax, the day ended with special recognition.
Bax won first place in a state poetry contest sponsored by the Federated Garden Clubs of Missouri, of which the Bittersweet Garden Club of Jefferson City is a member. Bittersweet won three states this year and one national winner. Applicants range in age from kindergarten to first year of high school.
“We do this every year and focus on promoting gardening and a love of nature in children,” said Sharon Burnett, who is the club’s poetry chair. “We also want them to improve their writing skills and spark future interest in taking up writing as a career or as a hobby.”
Burnett said they had several local winners of these contests and she credits teachers like Bax’s teacher, Jane Schnieder, who Burnett says “did a wonderful job doing more than just write a poem, c It’s quite a learning experience for them.”
Schnieder teaches students in the school’s special education program.
“I teach sentence structure, and we talk about capitalization and punctuation,” Schnieder said. “Then I find a project they can do that they can use what they’ve learned.”
Schnieder said the contest information was dropped off at the school, so they did.
Bax’s poem, titled “Chickadee”, was an acrostic poem. It is a poem in which the first letter of each verse states a word, name, or phrase when read vertically. It was Bax’s poem:
Chickadees are songbirds
The houses are in the woods and the backyards
I love tits.
tits are birds
Katydids are eaten by tits
A chickadee got its name by saying “chick-a-dee-dee-dee”.
Do owls eat tits?
Easy bird food in insects and seeds.
The eggs are white with red spots.
“It doesn’t have to rhyme, and it’s the easiest poem to do,” Schnieder said. “I grade them on their sentence structure and what they learned.”
Along with his certificate, Bax received a cash prize of $20. When asked what he would do with the money, he stopped and then happily said, “Spend it at McDonald’s.”
On Friday, Laura McCune, a sophomore at Jefferson City, was also recognized. McCune’s poem was titled “A Bird’s Song”.
A bird song
When a bird sings,
It’s like no other song in the world. Every song is different.
With a big gust of wind it’s perfect.
Woosh, tap-atap-tap, squawk, Jay! Jay!
Kip kip, pattap, shapshap, woosh, taptap.
And it’s a bird song.
“She always enjoyed writing and showed a talent for storytelling,” McCune’s mother, Michelle, said. “She won a short story contest when we lived in Sunrise Beach last year, so that’s her second best.”
It’s contests like this, Michell said, that encourage her daughter and others like her to keep developing their skills.
“She asked me after winning this award, ‘Do you think I could become a famous poet?’ and I told him I meant it,” Michelle said. “I think it’s wonderful that these kids have the opportunity in this community to be able to do that.”